The post in question is here. It’s an announcement that that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest that Pamela Geller and I organized in Garland Texas in May 2015 was sold out, and an excerpt from a Breitbart article about the event. Why has Pakistan been so slow on the uptake here? The post has been out there for over seven and a half years. It could be, of course, because issues of “blasphemy” and the freedom of speech are once again in the news because of the Qur’an-burning in Sweden.
This notice, and that event, demonstrate the fact that there really is a clash of civilizations, for there are two irreconcilable perspectives at play here. One is the idea that the freedom of expression is an important right, even if one’s expression offends someone else, for to outlaw offending some particular group would be to set up that group as above criticism, and that would pave the way for tyranny. The other is the idea that because Muslims are offended by drawings of Muhammad, and some even become violent as a result of these drawings, non-Muslims must curtail their freedom of expression in order to avoid offending them, although no one is granting any other group the privilege not to be offended. The West continues to ignore the irreconcilability of those two perspectives and pretend that it can somehow come to some accommodation between the two, but it will only do so ultimately by sacrificing the freedom of speech, which is the way it’s heading now, or by standing up for that freedom even in the face of violent intimidation.
It’s also worth noting that the Garland event was the first Islamic State (ISIS) attack on American soil. To my knowledge, the government of Pakistan has never said a word about that attack. But it is very upset about images of Muhammad, and announcing that it’s blocking Jihad Watch as a result. If the assassins had succeeded and a large number of us at the event had been killed, the government of Pakistan would still have been unlikely to utter a murmur of condemnation. Its priorities are that Muhammad must be honored by everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim. For them, the value of human life is secondary to that. And consequently, as far as its demand that we take down the post goes, the government of Pakistan can go pound sand.
Ironically, Pakistan is here saying they’ll block the site unless we explain and defend our actions, which of course we have no intention of doing for them, as that would be a tacit admission that the government of Pakistan actually has some authority over what we do here. Ironically, we already block the site in Pakistan due to the abuse we see coming from there, and have done so for nearly ten years, so the government of Pakistan must have made particular efforts to see this “blasphemy.” But I do thank the government of Pakistan for sending us this warning. At least the government of Pakistan is more honest than the hopelessly corrupt and compromised government of Britain, where we are mostly blocked with no such warning ever being issued.
Anyway, our tech expert Marc has now unblocked Pakistan, so that anyone learning about this “blasphemy” there can check the site for themselves.
From: Web Analysis Cell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, January 30, 2023 at 5:39 AM
Subject: NOTICE UNDER RULE 5(7)(i) OF THE REMOVAL AND BLOCKING OF UNLAWFUL ONLINE CONTENT (PROCEDURE, OVERSIGHT AND SAFEGUARDS) RULES 2021 READ WITH SECTION 37 (1) OF PREVENTION OF ELECTRONIC CRIMES ACT, 2016 – https://www.jihadwatch.org
The website https://www.jihadwatch.org is hereby issued Notice as under:
WHEREAS it has been reported to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (the “Authority”) that the Website i.e https://www.jihadwatch.org (“Platform”) is involved in dissemination of content against religion of Islam/Muslims, caricatures of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and circulating false rumors/reports against Muslims, which is outrageous and severely hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims. Sample Links are attached as Annex-A. It is informed that dissemination of such blasphemous content is a cognizable offence under sections 295-A, 295-C, 298 and 298-A of Pakistan Penal Code 1860 (“PPC”) and abuse of Article 260 (3) and Article 31 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 (“Constitution of Pakistan”).
AND WHEREAS the Authority has been empowered under section 37 (1) of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (“PECA”) to remove or block or issue directions for removal or blocking of access to an information through any information system if it considers it necessary in the interest of glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court or commission of or incitement to an offense under PECA.
AND WHEREAS as per section 1(4), PECA shall apply to any act committed outside Pakistan by any person if the act constitutes an offence under PECA and affects any person, property, information system or data located in Pakistan.
AND WHEREAS in accordance with section 37(2) read with section 51 of PECA, Federal Government has approved the Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards), Rules 2021 (“Rules 2021”), which provide safeguards, process and mechanism for exercise of powers by the Authority under PECA for removal of or blocking access to unlawful Online Content through any information system.
AND WHEREAS Rule 3(2) of the Rules 2021 provides that the direction, issued by the Authority under the PECA and under these Rules 2021, shall prevail and take precedence over any contrary Community Guidelines and such Community Guidelines shall be deemed to be of no legal effect.
NOW THEREFORE the Platform is hereby issued this notice pursuant to Rule 5(7)(i) of the Rules 2021 with the direction to remedy the contravention by geo-fencing the blasphemous content including but not limited to reported content and bar its viewership in Pakistan within (48) hrs of the issuance of this notice and explain in writing, as to why an order under rule 5(7)(ii) of the Rules 2021 may not be passed. The Platform is at liberty to clarify its position and satisfy the Authority within stipulated time either through physical appearance or virtual meeting as deemed appropriate.
This issues with the approval of the Authority.
For and on behalf of the Authority
Web Analysis Division (WAD)